Chaitra Navratri

Navratri is the 10 days and 9 nights festival celebrated in the honour of Goddess Durga in her 9 major forms. The most important Navratri celebrated in a year are Chaitra Navratri (March-April) and Sharad Navratri (September-October).

Chaitra Navratri, also known as Vasant Navratri is celebrated during the Shukla pasha (waxing phase of the moon) in the month of Chaitra and concludes with Sri Rama Navami festival. Chaitra Navratri is thus rightly called as Rama Navratri too.

9 different forms of Goddess Durga and the appropriate way to worship:

1. The first day of Navratri (31 March 2014) is dedicated to Shailaputri form of goddess Durga. Shailaputri translates to the daughter of the mountains, wherein shaila refers to mountain and putri refers to daughter. It is another name of goddess Parvati, the daughter of Himavan, king of the mountains. She holds a trident and a lotus in her hands and her mount is a bull. One can overcome the negative effects of Chandra (Moon) by worshipping her.
• Offer 1 pomegranate to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

2. The second day of Navratri (1 April 2014) is dedicated to Brahmacharini form of goddess Durga. She bestows wisdom, knowledge, love and loyalty. She holds and wears Rudraksha, her favourite ornament. One can overcome the negative effects of the planet Mangal (Mars) by worshipping her.
• Offer 2 apples to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

3. The third day of Navratri (2 April 2014) is dedicated to Chandraghanta form of goddess Durga. She sits on a tiger, has 10 hands and 3 eyes. She hold weapons in her 8 hands and offers blessings and protection with the remaining 2 hands. She bestows peace, bliss, knowledge, material growth and spiritual growth and helps her devotees understand the purpose of life. One can overcome the negative effects of the planet Shukra (Venus) by worshipping her.
• Offer 3 bananas to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

4. The fourth day of Navratri (3 April 2014) is dedicated to Kushmanda form of goddess Durga. Kushmanda Devi too sits on a tiger, has 8 arms holding weapons and a rosary. She destroys the mental suffering of the devotees. One can overcome the negative effects of Surya (Sun) by worshipping her.
• Offer 4 pears to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

5. The fifth day of Navratri (4 April 2014) is dedicated to Skandmata form of goddess Durga. She is seated on a lion, holding her son, Skanda (Kartikeya) in her lap. She has 3 eyes and 4 hands. 2 of her hands hold lotuses and the other 2 offer protection and blessings.
• Offer 5 bunches of grapes (small will do) to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening. One can overcome the negative effects of the planet Budha (Mercury) by worshipping her.

6. The sixth day of Navratri (5 April 2014) is dedicated to Katyayani form of goddess Durga. She is the daughter of Katyayana Rishi. She has 3 eyes and 4 hands. 2 of her hands offer blessings and protection while the other 2 hold a weapon and a lotus. She is golden coloured and rides a lion. She is known as the warrior goddess and bestows freedom from fear and protection from ghostly existence. One can overcome the negative effects of the planet Brihaspati (Jupiter) by worshipping her.
• Offer 6 guavas to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

7. The seventh day of Navratri (6 April 2014) is dedicated to Kalaratri form of goddess Durga. She has 4 hands, 2 of which offer blessings and protection and the other 2 hold a cleaver and a torch. Her mount is a donkey. She blesses her devotees with fearlessness, auspiciousness, destroys ignorance and helps in reviving damaged relationships and opportunities. One can overcome the negative effects of the planet Shani (Saturn) by worshipping her.
• Offer 7 chickoo (sapota) fruits to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

8. The eighth day of Navratri (7 April 2014) is dedicated to Maha Gauri form of goddess Durga. She holds a trident and a drum in her hands. Her mount is a bull. She blesses her devotees with longevity and a blissful marital life. And unmarried devotees are blessed with loving and understanding life partners. One can overcome the negative effects of Rahu (North Lunar Node) by worshipping her.
• Offer 8 custard apples (sitaphal) to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

9. The ninth day of Navratri (8 April 2014) is dedicated to Siddhidatri form of goddess Durga. She has 4 arms and is seated upon a lotus. She grants ashta sidhis to her devotees. She enlightens her devotees on the spiritual path and blesses them with spiritual growth. One can overcome the negative effects of Ketu (South Lunar Node) by worshipping her.
• Offer 9 oranges to the goddess in the morning, distribute and honour the same as prasad in the evening.

Do not be disappointed if different kinds of fruits are not available. You can still offer the available fruits and worship goddess Durga with a sincere heart to seek her blessings.

Approrpiate way to observe Navratri vrat and its significance:

• Observe a total fast during the day. Offer non-grain dishes to goddess Durga in the night and honour the same as prasad during the entire Navratri period. Find a couple of recipes here and here.
• Eat sattvic food and avoid grains, rajasic and tamasic food.
• Offer kumkum (vermilion), haldi (turmeric) and coconut to married women and offer money and food to young girls.
• Perform a simple worship of goddess Durga at home with ghee lamp, incense, camphor, kumkum, haldi, chandan (sandalwood), red cloth and red bangles.
• Devotees who are not able to follow the Navratri vrat strictly need not worry. Goddess Durga is the universal mother and is very kind. Do a manasic (mental) offering of all the puja items and rituals and meditate upon the form of goddess Durga at least for a few minutes during the Navratri period and observe a fast according to your capacity.
• Recite and listen to Durga Suktam.
• Pray to goddess Durga with devotion and observe Navratri festival to the best you can. Goddess Durga will remove all your suffering and bless you with good health, happiness, peace and success.
• For more details on worshipping goddess Durga, please refer to our article here

Additional Details:

• Some devotees begin the Navratri observance by performing Kalash Sthapana
• Most of the women devotees observe Navratri for the long life of their husbands and for the well-being of their children.
This year, Chaitra Navratri is celebrated between 31 March 2014 and 8 April 2014. OnlineTemple.com wishes all the devotees a very happy Chaitra Navratri. May Jagadamba bless all of you with peace, prosperity and joy!

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